Leanne Steed and Elizabeth Amvrazis were presenting as a duet in the Digital Dimensions stream of Education Nation. They were speaking under a title that intrigued me. The short version, Technology – it’s time to reap its benefits, gave the impression that it would be a discussion of how technology is being used to direct and inform student learning. This session was very quick, or it felt very quick at least, and there was a lot to take in.
Leanne and Elizabeth began by having the audience stand up and move around the room to inspect a series of models of learning that they had placed on the walls. There were a large range of ideas and models, including learning as skills for work and a pastorally-driven model, amongst others. We came back together to hear Leanne and Elizabeth remind us that technology is important as teachers are now in the business of forward thinking and planning and technology is here to stay.
I had not heard this before, the age of FANG, but it made sense once it was explained. We are in an age where Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google dominate the online landscape and indeed, as the article from which the above image was sourced, dominate our culture. This is in stark contrast to our own lives when you consider that Netflix, the oldest of the four companies, only began in 1997, less than twenty years ago.
Leanne and Elizabeth made the point that at no point prior to this, have we referred to a temporal indicator so much that it became a buzzword. We do not see references to nineteenth-century skills in any records, nor do we see references to the need to ensure our students learn the new skills of critical or creative thinking and collaboration as if they have never been skills that anyone in the past has possessed and are recent discoveries.They questioned why the perception of education portrayed in movies and the media is still of a teacher at the front of a room with students in rows of chairs, and showed us the following video, titled A New Vision for Education.
At this point, the audience was asked to go and stand by the poster of the thinking or learning model that were examined at the start of the session which most spoke to them. This led to a brief explanation by some audience members of why they had selected the particular model, which demonstrated that there is a range of thinking in any one room and that we need to remember this in our teaching.
It was an interesting session, but I think the workshop version within The Learner would have been a better way to explore the topic due to the longer timeslot. That said, Leanne and Elizabeth did a great job of sharing their thoughts in the timeslot they had.